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Vladimir Kramnik vs Alexander Grischuk
World Championship Candidates (2011), Kazan RUS, rd 2, May-13
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  AgentRgent: Sigh I wish I had been wrong...

At least Kramnik continued pressing.. A few more games like this and Grischuk's defense is bound to crack...

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: The final position is actually aesthetically beautiful.

Black's pawns are on dark squares - so can't be attacked by the bishop. No entry points for the White king as the Knight on d6 prevents entries via b5 and f5. White's pieces form a triangle! Black's pieces seem the perfect antidote!

Premium Chessgames Member Thanks to everybody for stopping by today. Round 2.3 is tomorrow at 7:00am USA/Eastern, hope to see you then.
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  tamar: Looks like Grischuk saw it all with 51...Rxa4. Nice.

if 52 Rxd6 Rb4 53 Bb5 Rxb5+ 54 Kxb5 Kxd6 55 Kxa5 Kxd5, and although White wins the race for Queen, the c pawn and King hold out because of the stalemate on h1.

Kramnik saw it too, although he didn't look too shocked at the board. Probably seen earlier by both?

May-13-11  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 31 Ke3 is 31 Rc3 so that White's Rook can get back into play. Throughout the final part of the game, White's Rook was out of play and tied to the defence of White's b pawn, while Black's Rook enjoyed the run of the second rank.
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  plang: <Grischuk dodged several bullets, and Kramnik's reputation is shot.>

Why is his reputation shot? Is there a specific win that he missed?

Over the last year or so Grischuk has shown himself to be a tenacious defender.

May-13-11  Gogia: is not it Four Knights opening?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <plang: <Grischuk dodged several bullets, and Kramnik's reputation is shot.>

Why is his reputation shot?>

What is he going to tell his friends when they say "ooh la la"?

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Gogia: is not it Four Knights opening?>

The position reached after 1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 is the Symmetrical English, Four Knights Variation. Then after 4.e3 e5 5.d4 we reach the present game. So yes, that would be a reasonable name for this opening. For games like this where puts up the game before any moves have been played, it initially describes it as A00 (Uncommon Opening), since no one knows what opening will actually be played.

Note that Grischuk's 8...Bb8 improved on the rather comical course of D Shengelia vs S Grover, 2010 (8...Nxe5 9.cxd6 - 1-0, 15).

May-13-11  Shams: What a beautiful final position!

click for larger view

May-13-11  chesssantosh: <shams> ya a lovely position in the has created a nice fortress that white can't penetrate.his own extra pawn is the obstruction.sometimes <LESS IS MORE>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Why is his reputation shot? Is there a specific win that he missed?>

I thought at the time that Kramnik had missed a win. I believe now that I was wrong.

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  An Englishman: Good Evening: I nominate the Nd6 for Defensive Player of the Year.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Shams: What a beautiful final position!>

Indeed. One can learn a lot from it. The black pawns and knight, and White's own pawn on d5, keep White's king off any square on the fifth rank except h5. But once Black's king goes to g7, and Black makes tempo moves with his knight as necessary, White's king can get no further. White could then throw away his pawn with d5, thus giving his king chances of penetrating via that square. However, he wouldn't even be a pawn up then. Kramnik must have looked at that and decided it wasn't worth trying.

May-13-11  bronkenstein: In the press conference , Kramnik judged the position after the control move to be the draw ˝ requiring only accuracy ˝ . OFC he kept on playing to check the technique . Grischuk didn´t sound too worried about his position much earlier than that .

And indeed , after white grabbed the pawn 24. Nxe4 (but what else ?) , the following exchanges outlinied the drawish position with blocking monster on d6 .

BTW, Kramnik´s ˝After 8.c5 i am out of preparation˝ words sound unbelieveable...So early, and in the variation Grischuk played only few days before against Aronian ( tiebreaks , game 3 ) ???

May-13-11  Comejen: Fritz give me (+ - 6.00) after black 51..Rxa4??
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  AgentRgent: <Comejen: Fritz give me (+ - 6.00) after black 51..Rxa4??> Play it out.. it's a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I used to have a fairly young student here in Pensacola - about 2 years ago, they moved to TX.

This post is in response to his e-mail, it may also help other players as well.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

This is the position after fifty hard-fought moves.

click for larger view

White: Kc5, Bd3, Rb3; WP's - a4, b2, d5, & f3.

Black: Kc7, Nd6, Rh4; BP's - a5, b7, & f6.

White played the natural and aggressive: 51.Rb6 ('!') here.

click for larger view

Black looks to be in BIG trouble, natural (retreating) moves will get him into big trouble, for example: 51...Ne8; 52.Re6 Kd8; 53.Bg6 Nc7; 54.Rxf6, and White should win handily.

Instead Black played: 51...RxP/a4! (Maybe - '!!')

This yields this position:

click for larger view

This prompted my student, (Who was watching this game live on the Internet.); to write: "Didn't Black just hang his Knight on d6? This is easy stuff, even I can see that Rxd6 wins for White." (Another Internet student went on analyze some lines ... one critical variation involves a "Pawn race.")

OK David, let me walk you through this.

Kramnik played 52.b3! (Also b4 was good as well.) But let's examine what happens if White grabs the "free" Knight.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

But let's examine what happens if White had taken the "free Knight."

Let's pretend for a minute that White had taken the Knight: 51.RxN/d6!?and then Black played: 51...Rb4! This would have given us this position:

click for larger view

Let's pretend (for a moment) that anything is possible ... Rooks can jump over Pawns. (This is not a legal move, I know, but let's just do it to illustrate a point.)

So ... 52.R/d6-h6, going to an ideal square.

click for larger view

Black would respond: 52...b6#. (Mate!)

click for larger view

It is PRECISELY this threat that eliminates an "EASY WINS" for White, OK?

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Now back to the game analysis:

click for larger view

We are analyzing the POSSIBLE 52.RxN/d6!?

Play could continue:
52...Rb4!; 53.Bb5,
White tries to blcok the b-file.

(The line of: 53.Rxf6 b6+; 54.Rxb6 Rxb6; 55.Bb5, "=" yields an unclear position, but is also a draw. )

53...Rxb5+!; 54.Kxb5 Kxd6; 55.Kxa5 Kxd5; 56.Kb6 Kd4; 57.Kxb7 f5; 58.b4 f4; 59.b5 Ke3; 60.b6 Kxf3; 61.Kc6 Kg2; 62.b7 f3; 63.b8Q f2; 64.Qg8+ Kh1; 65.Qc4 Kg1; 66.Qg4+ Kh1; 67.Qf3+ Kg1; 68.Qg3+,

click for larger view


68...Kh1!; 69.Qxf2, Draw. (Stalemate.)

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: A year or two from now ... when everyone (including me!) has forgotten these games ...

this would probably make a good daily problem.

May-14-11  Jaburu: About the move 23 ...Rac8, if sacrifice or mistake, my tendency is the one of being a sacrifice, because if he to play 23...f5 or 23...Kf8 the King to go against e4 pawn to maintain the advantage, with black in the passive defense of your position. With 23...Rac8, Grischuk sacrifices your e4 pawn and to go for a active defense of your position.
May-15-11  pikuels: Actually I'm not so sure it's a draw after all. White can try taking his king to h5 and play a waiting move like Bc2. Black is forced to let the white king in, or play something like Nb5 and then white can give up the d pawn, so there's no block anymore
May-15-11  Big Pawn: I would like to thank LIFE Master AJ for that thoughtful explanation of why White couldn't win the knight. I just couldn't see it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <<May-15-11 Big Pawn: I would like to thank LIFE Master AJ for that thoughtful explanation of why White couldn't win the knight. I just couldn't see it.>>

You are welcome!! :)

"I just couldn't see it."
Apparently ... you are not alone, I got several e-mails about that game.

May-15-11  Imposter: nicely demonstrated.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: In my long post above, it should have been "any easy wins."
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